Union Budget brings down investment in elite sportspersons

Three key areas affecting elite sportspersons have seen reduction in budget allocation this year.
Three key areas affecting elite sportspersons have seen reduction in budget allocation this year.

The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has allocated the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports a sum of Rs 1943.21 crore in the Union Budget, up from last year’s revised Rs 1608.10 crore (as against the original provision of Rs 1592 crore). In percentage terms, this works out to 20.82 per cent (and 22.06 per cent of last year’s original provision).

It is very important to note that this allocation is not entirely for sports. Youth programmes like National Service Scheme, National Young Leaders Programme, National Programme for Youth & Adolocent Development etc secure Rs 127 crore while the Ministerial secretariat takes up Rs 29 crore.

Here is a table of allocation to sports and physical fitness sectors (the Rupee amounts are in crores):


Sports Component in Union Budget 2017-18
Expenditure heads 2017-18 2016-17 Difference
Central Schemes and Projects      
Encouragement and Awards to Sportspersons      
Assistance to National Sports Federations 302.18 359.93 -57.75
HRD in Sports 10.00 5.00 5.00
Incentives to sportspersons 14.00 25.50 -11.50
National Sports Development Fund 2.00 5.00 -3.00
Sports for Disabled 0.01 4.00 -3.99
National Welfare Fund for Sportsperson 2.00 1.00 1.00
Total – Encouragement etc 330.19 400.43 -70.24
National Programme for Sports Development
Khelo India 350.00 118.10 231.90
Enhancement of Sports Facility in J&K 75.00 40.00 35.00
Sports Talent identification & Nuturing 0.50 0.50 0.00
CWG2010 Stadia renovation 0.50 0.01 0.49
Himalayan Region Sports Festival Scheme 15.00 0.00 15.00
Total – Khelo India etc 441.00 158.61 282.39
Other Central Sector Expenditure
Sports Authority of India 481.00 438.20 42.80
Other Autonomous Bodies 45.02 27.10 17.92
Contribution to WADA 1.00 0.60 0.40
Total – Other Central Sector Expenditure 527.02 465.90 61.12
National Physical Fitness Programme & LNIPE
National Physical Fitness Programme 0.50 0.01 0.49
Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education 45.02 52.60 -7.58
Total – National Physical Fitness Programme 45.52 52.61 -7.09
Totals (all four major heads) 1343.73 1077.55 266.18


There is a sharp drop in the quantum allocated under the head Encouragement and Awards to Sportspersons. In fact, it has come down from the revised Rs 400.43 crore last year to Rs 330.10 crore for 2017-18 – that is 17.56 per cent reduction. One possible reason for this may be that there are no major multi-discipline competitions lined up this year but if that were true, it indicates a typical last-minutitis and against investing in athletes in the years before major multi-discipline Games.

The assistance to National Sports Federations – that itself is arguable since spends on athletes are shown as assistance to National Sports Federations – has been brought down from Rs 359.92 crore to Rs 302.18 crore this year; incentives to sports persons are down from Rs 25.50 crore to Rs 14.00 crore; besides, Government’s contribution to National Sports Development Fund has come down by 60 per cent to a mere Rs 2 crore.

The one programme which has seen a substantial jump is Khelo India where Rs 350.00 crore has been allocated this year compared to previous year’s revised estimate of Rs 118.10 crore.  Khelo India is an umbrella scheme after the rationalisation of schemes like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and National Sports Talent Search programme.

We have also been told by Government, through the Press Informationa Bureau, that only a token amount (Rs 0.01 crore) has been allocated to the Promotion of Sports among Disabled as funds would be disbursed from Khelo India.

The same PIB media release also claimed that the budget for sports has been enhanced by 40 per cent since last year. It took me a while to figure out how this number was arrived at. The release took into the account the increased allocation from the previous year’s Budget Estimate (Rs 995.40 crore) and calculated the jump to Rs 1392.21 crore as a 40 per cent enhancement in allocation. However, had the Revised Estimate (Rs 1078.15 crore) been used as the base, the increase works out to less than 30 per cent.


About Rajaraman 453 Articles
Born on March 10, 1961 in Hyderabad, I wanted to be an electronics engineer but my focus on cricket and basketball at school and junior college meant that I missed qualifying from the entrance examination. I led the School and Junior College basketball teams. I then decided he would be sports a journalist like my father, Mr N Ganesan. While I graduated in commerce from the Badruka College of Arts and Commerce, I also spent more time in sports, representing Andhra Pradesh in the National Basketball Championship in 1980 and Osmania University in 1981-82. I joined the 1981-82 batch of Osmania Univeristy's Bachelor in Communication and Journalism. I missed the gold medal by 0.6 per cent and was pursuing the Masters' degree when The Hindu offered me a job as Sub-Editor in Madras. I took up The Hindu assignment on March 17, 1983. Though my job entailed editing functions only, I got to cover the annual Sholavaram motor racing grands prix in 1985 and 1986 and the Himalayan Rally in 1985 when my photographs also found expression in The Sportstar. I left The Hindu in November 1986 to join Press Trust of India as Sports Reporter in Hyderabad. I was called to New Delhi to report on the World Table Tennis Championship in March 1987. I covered a variety of events, including the SAF Games in Calcutta in 1987 and Islamabad in 1989. I ventured to Delhi in July 1992 when I joined The Pioneer as a Senior Reporter/Sub-Editor (Sports). My cricket writing skills came to the fore when I was deputed to write on India's tour of Sri Lanka in July-August 1993. I was rewarded with a promotion as Deputy Sports Editor in 1995. The departure of the Sports Editor in January 1996 saw me hold charge. A good performance during the 1996 World Cup cricket and the Olympic Games in Atlanta - when The Pioneer brought out a four-page supplement every day saw me being confirmed as Sports Editor in August 1996. The Hindustan Times, Delhi's largest newspaper, appointed me as Associate Editor (Sports) in January 1997. I conceived and launched a weekly colour supplement, Sport during the World Cup football finals in 1998. I covered the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok and the 1999 World Cup cricket in England. I left the Hindustan Times on February 23, 2000 to take up position as Editor, www.cricketnext.com on February 26 and can claim with pride that I played no mean role in building a good site that is rated among the best cricket news sites. Besides, a number of TV channels – NDTV, Star News, Doordarshan, CNBC, Zee News – and radio stations like BBC, SABC and ABC have invite me to in-studio discussions on cricket. In 2001, I authored a book, Match-fixing: The Enemy Within (Har Anand Publications). I joined www.espnstar.com as Senior Editor in June 2001 and worked for two years, helping it transform from a corporate website to a respected sports site and playing a role in driving the hugely popular online fantasy cricket game, Super Selector. I left the website to pursue life as a freelance writer and consultant, editing the Afro-Asian Games Observer in Hyderabad in October-November 2003 and helping the Board of Control for Cricket in India's Communication Committee. I joined the respected weekly magazine Outlook as Senior Special Correspondent in April 2005 and worked there till September 2007, with a story highlighting Sunil Gavaskar's minimal contribution to Indian cricket after his retirement being one of the best in my career. For a year, till Sept 30, 2008, I was Sports Editor, Samay, Sahara India's National news channel. I live in New Delhi with my wife Sudha and daughter Priya and after a short stint with www.iplt20.com and www.t20.com, I am now consultant with the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi (28° 40' 0 N, 77° 13' 0 E) lending my shoulder to the wheel that will make India a hugely popular sports destination.


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